Today is his feast day.
I always write about him so for today I will link to another site for remarks instead.
. Benoît-Joseph Labre (1748-83) is the patron saint of the homeless. Having failed in his first ambition, to become a monk, he became for five years a perpetual pilgrim, before abandoning himself to the life of a derelict in Rome.
. The eldest of 15 children of a prosperous shopkeeper, Benoît-Joseph was born in the village of Amettes, near Boul-ogne. Even as a young boy he manifested both extreme devotion and an inextinguishable horror for anything which smacked of sin. . At 12 he was sent to live with an uncle who was parish priest of Erin, some 40 miles from Amettes. There, he immersed himself in reading the Bible and the lives of the saints. . Although Benoît-Joseph was not gloomy – indeed, he seemed to be cheerful in the depths of his soul – he was never sociable. His first ambition was to join the strictest possible religious order and submit himself to the most rigorous mortification. . Something about him, though, made monasteries wary. The Trappists, the Carthusians and the Cistercians all decided that he was unsuitable for any form of community. . Around 1770, when he was 22, Benoît-Joseph conceived the idea of becoming a pilgrim. He set out for Rome, travelling on foot and depending entirely on alms. His aim, in imitation of his Master (Luke 9:58), was to have nowhere to lay his head. . Such gifts as he received he often passed on to those whose need he considered greater than his. He had no possessions save his increasingly disgusting clothes, and three books, the New Testament, the Breviary and The Imitation of Christ. . As he walked he became totally absorbed in prayer and meditation, rarely speaking to fellow pilgrims. Nor, it must be admitted, were they keen to talk to him, given his stinking condition. . So, over the years, Benoît-Joseph made his way to all the main pilgrim shrines in western Europe, including Loreto and Assisi in Italy, Compostela in Spain, Paray-le-Monial in France and Einsiedeln in Switzerland, which he visited five times. . From 1774, however, he settled in Rome (save for an annual visit to Loreto), sleeping rough in the Colosseum until forced by illness to enter a hospice for the poor. . He spent his days in churches, becoming known as “the saint of the Forty Hours” in consequence of the long periods he spent in contemplation before the Blessed Sacrament. . Finally, on April 16 1783, worn out by his sufferings and austerities, Benoît-Joseph sank down exhausted on the steps of his favourite church, the Madonna dei Monti, and was carried to a neighbouring house, where he died. . Canonised in 1883, Benoît-Joseph has been called a “representative example of those who have refused, in the name of Christ, to be respectable”. - Source
. "The cult of celebrity is poison."
So anyway - there I was Thursday, minding my own business, packing up paintings to ship and so busy with this and that, I wasn't even online to get in on the latest tar and feathering. Evidently the man with the hair, Michael Voris said something to upset even the good guys of the Catholic blog-o-drama-sphere. I'm thinking it is pretty much just a misunderstanding, but I'm not sure - some people don't like Michael. This brouhaha will most likely blow over, and beisdes, it is not like Voris is beholden to anyone like a bishop or religious superior, or was caught in some sort of sex scandal.
For me, the silver lining of it all is this: People seem to be waking up to the fact that the Catholic blogosphere is fallible - big time fallible and puffed up. That includes priest-blogs and those aristocracy-pretending blog-heads who want to form a guild for Catholic bloggers. Like that isn't elitist. Anyway - regarding the idea of a blogosterium, Mark Shea said it better than I could:
. "Don't put a mitre on the head of any loudmouth in the blogosphere or Catholic media, especially me. A gaggle of apologists and bigmouths like me is not the Magisterium." . The cult of celebrity is poison. People need to stop hoisting aloft every internet chatterer who thinks God has given him the power of excommunication against those who don't happen to know their suffocating small constellation of shibboleths." - Mark Shea
I've been more or less saying the same thing since I started blogging. The advice applies to me, and you, and priests, and lay people alike - trad, novo, or dissident.
I think some do. .
Years ago the KKK used to claim that kind of stuff - alleging the Pope wanted to take over the U.S. - isn't that dumb. I know! . .
All rightey then. . . . . What? . . . . . Disclaimer: No priests were harmed by this post.
The greatness of ordinary life.
For the last 2 years at every Wednesday Audience, the Holy Father has dedicated his talks to the saints as examples of holiness for Catholics. This past Wednesday the Pope directed our attention to the 'universal call to holiness' and the means of sanctifying ordinary life. Like St. Therese, Fr. De Caussade, and St. JoseMaria Escriva, the Holy Father recognizes that ordinary life is the seedbed of holiness.
. Saintliness is the measure of Christian life.
. "Often we are led to believe that sainthood is reserved to a few chosen ones", the Pope said. Nonetheless, "saintliness, the fullness of Christian life, does not consist in the achievement of extraordinary feats, but in uniting oneself with Christ... in making His disposition ... His behaviour ... our own. ... The II Vatican Council, in the Constitution of the Church, speaks clearly of the universal call to sainthood, affirming that no-one is excluded". . However, a holy life, the Pope continued, "is not principally the result of our efforts, as it is God ... who renders us holy, and it is the action of his Spirit which animates us from within, the same life of Christ resurrected which is communicated to us and which transforms us ... Saintliness is therefore ultimately rooted in baptismal grace, in being introduced to the paschal mystery of Christ, by which His Spirit, His resurrected life, is communicated to us. ... But God always respects our freedom and asks us to accept this gift and to live with the demands it brings, asks that we may allow ourselves to be transformed by the action of the Holy Spirit, conforming our will to the will of God". . "How can it be that our way of thinking and our actions become the thought and action of Christ?" asked the Pope. "Once again, the II Vatican Council offers us clear guidance; it tells us that Christian holiness is none other than charity, fully experienced". However, in order that charity might, "like a good seed, grow in the soul and there bear fruit, the faithful must listen gladly to the Word of God and, by its grace, carry out His will through their works, participate frequently in the sacraments, above all the Eucharist and the Holy Liturgy; they must constantly apply themselves in prayer, in the abnegation of their selves, in the active service of their brothers and in the exercise of every virtue. ... For this reason the true disciple of Christ is characterised by his charity both toward God and toward his neighbour". - VIS
Photo: St. Therese at the laundromat. ;)
Cathy tagged me for a meme - the "Why I love Jesus" meme. These are the rules: .
* Share five things you love about Jesus/or why you love Jesus.
* Tag five other bloggers.
* Those tagged will provide a link in the comments section here so others can read them.
. Five things I love about Jesus?
The first thought that came to mind was his 5 Holy Wounds... one could write a spiritual teatise on that, but I think there are already writings from the saints on the subject.
. Why I love Jesus?
This is something entirely different, but it is very simple:
He first loved me.
He drew me to himself,
when I was mired in sin.
He loved me
and revealed himself to me.
I tag Thom, Owen, Pablo, Joe Defend Us In Battle, Tom in Vegas.
Photo: Jesus heals the man born blind.
From the Letters of St. Catherine:
. Tribulation and consolation alike -- everything was given through love and to provide for the salvation of men and for no other purpose.
. The Father said: "The blood shed for you shows that this is the truth, but those blinded by self-love are burning with great impatience, judging badly in hate and to their own destruction that which I do through love and for their own good and to save them from eternal punishment and to give them the fruit of eternal life. (60) . "Why do they resent me and hate that which they should revere? Why do they wish to criticize my hidden judgments, which are all correct? These act like a blind man who would judge well or badly following his small, feeble sources of information from the senses of touch, taste and hearing, and will not listen to him who has the light. They will go on stupidly trusting (61)to the sense of touch, deceived as it is, since it does not have the light to discern color. Taste is deceived as well, for the blinded one does not see the filthy insects which infest his food. The ear is deceived by the pleasure of the sound, for the blind one does not guard himself and can be lured to his death. Such is the course of those who, blinded by the loss of the light of reason and knowing only the sensible delights of the world, pay dearly for it.(62) - St. Catherine of Siena, Letter CCLXXII
Art: Sassoferrato, St. Catherine of Siena with the Child Jesus
Before going to adoration today, I caught a story on the news about a cat shot through the head with an arrow. The cat returned home with the arrow still in its head and was taken to the vet. The cat survived!
I felt so bad for the cat - who was obviously someone's pet. Whenever I think of animals abused or mistreated I think of how babies are killed and children are abused and mistreated, and I feel deep, deep sorrow. Last night on the news there was a report about a 2 year old beat up by his mother's boyfriend. It really tears me apart to hear such things. I prayed for babies and kids and animals this afternoon. "Please don't let them get hurt anymore." .
Faithful and charitable.
Bishop Tobin may have surprised some when in an interview with a local news site he conceded, “People deserve human rights whether or not they’re gay.” Although some people may disagree, especially those who would like to see homosexual persons exterminated from the face of the earth, there is nothing unusual or extraordinary in the Bishop's statements. As to be expected, they accord perfectly with the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.
. 2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection. - CCC
. Bishop Tobin: "The state should not be sanctioning behavior the Church regards as immoral."
. "In an exclusive interview, Roman Catholic Bishop Thomas Tobin said the Church is not opposed to granting some benefits and rights to gay couples—as long as the term marriage is not used.
. His statement—which was couched in caveats—nonetheless indicates a flexibility in the Church’s position that has previously been overlooked in the polarizing debate over gay marriage in Rhode Island. . “The legislation we would support is what is often called ‘reciprocal benefits,’” Tobin told GoLocalProv. “It does not use marriage as a reference point. It would grant some legal benefits [and] some legal rights to two people who have some kind of established relationship without any particular reference to marriage. So it could be someone and their grandfather. Could be two cousins. Could be two elderly sisters.” . Tobin declined to elaborate on exactly which legal benefits and rights he thought unmarried couples should have—saying that’s a question for legal experts. “People deserve human rights whether or not they’re gay,” Tobin said. “Now the reciprocal benefits [bill] recognizes some rights and some privileges irrespective of their orientation and that’s the key I think.”
. Tobin said he would not go as far as supporting civil unions, saying the church is as steadfastly opposed to civil unions as it is to gay marriage. . “We would oppose what is commonly called civil unions because it’s really just another name for what would be same-sex marriage,” Tobin said. “We’ve found invariably whenever civil unions are introduced in a state that is quickly followed by full-fledged gay marriage.” . “We think it is an ill-advised attempt to redefine the very basic parameters of marriage as they’ve existed from the very beginning of mankind—as the union of one man and one woman designed to create new life and to encourage the love of the spouses,” Tobin said.
. He also said the state should not be sanctioning behavior the Church regards as immoral and expressed concern that that a gay-marriage law could limit religious freedom. Even though the bill does not mandate that any church or other religious community perform gay marriages, Tobin said it could still force religious groups to grant benefits to gay couples. . “The question whether or not some people are made that way—I think that’s still an open question. I’m not quite ready to cede that. But even if that is the case, that someone has that disposition, they still have the ability as human beings to control their behavior—otherwise there’s anarchy and chaos,” Tobin said.
. “The fact that a person is made a certain way is not immoral—again that’s the difference between orientation and activity,” Tobin said. “Having a homosexual orientation is no more or less immoral than having a heterosexual orientation. But, in both cases, whether it’s heterosexual or homosexual, we have to be able to control our behavior.” - Source
In it for the money.
Evidently Lady Gaga is in love with this man. She's obviously attempting to taunt faithful Catholics for the last part of Lent and Holy Week. It appears even anti-religious people can make money off religion.
If she repents she can be forgiven.
Not too far from my house is a small commercial area home to a large garden center, nearby is an old motel that has been converted into a halfway house for addicts and people with mental illness. It is very discreet and no one would know this unless they lived nearby. Over the years I have seen many residents walk by my house on their way to another commercial area where there is a grocery store and a restaurant or two.
As most of my friends know, I love crazy people, people with Down Syndrome and all sorts of eccentrics. Whenever I am outside working in the yard or something, I always try to greet these folks whenever they go by the house - although I wasn't quite so friendly when I first moved here. Most of the folks I greet usually never respond, although sometimes they have yelled things like "F-off" - if they said anything at all. The chemically dependent seem to be the exception - they will ask for money, a cigarette, or a can of pop in the summer.
Anyway, this morning as I woke up, the first thought into my mind was "they laid hold of one Simon the Cyrenean who was coming in from the fields." I like to think my angel whispers these things to me, sometimes to form my prayer for the day. As I went to the kitchen to plug in the coffee, I looked out the window just as one of the residents from the halfway house was walking by.
His head was shaved and he was dressed all in black with studs in his ears and on his jeans; he walked aggressively, hunched forward, bobbing back and forth as if he wanted to appear threatening. At the risk of sounding like Sheldon from Big Bang Theory, giving the details of what he is thinking, the following was my thought process after watching the man walk by the house:
Now he reminds me of Simon of Cyrene, I thought. Simon must have been a day laborer. Perhaps he was some sort of an outcast himself - most likely he accounted for nothing. Coming in from the fields - tired - he must have resented being forced to do even more - until he realized whose cross he was carrying... sharing. I hope this guy recognizes Jesus and is healed - saved. Saved is better I thought - sometimes, some people wouldn't know how to live if they are healed.
I then noted that he walked like I did when I was in grade school, so other kids would think I was tough - it worked. Perhaps that tough facade is his defense while in treatment - especially in a halfway house.
I couldn't help but think that if I lived in Kenwood (a classy neighborhood in MPLS) neighbors would probably call the police to report the guy as a suspicious person stalking their luxury homes.
I suspected that he must be new to the halfway house because I had never noticed him before today.
Then I went in to another room to pray, and I pondered, "they laid hold of one Simon the Cyrenean who was coming in from the fields."
I don't know what it would be like either - if I was healed, I mean.
It seems to me whenever I said something about how serious and devastating I believed the catastrophe at Fukishima is, 'experts' kept saying it "wasn't as bad as all of that".
. TOKYO (AP) - Japan raised the crisis level at its crippled nuclear plant Tuesday to a severity on par with the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, citing high overall radiation leaks that have contaminated the air, tap water, vegetables and seawater.
. Japanese nuclear regulators said they raised the rating from 5 to 7 - the highest level on an international scale of nuclear accidents overseen by the International Atomic Energy Agency - after new assessments of radiation leaks from the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant since it was disabled by the March 11 tsunami. . The new ranking signifies a "major accident" that includes widespread effects on the environment and health, according to the Vienna-based IAEA. But Japanese officials played down any health effects and stressed that the harm caused by Chernobyl still far outweighs that caused by the Fukushima plant. - Source
Once again, Anonymous comments will be deleted - unless I like what they say.
Disgruntled commenters will be dismissed and or deleted. (One can't possibly take them seriously.)
Have a nice evening.
Does YouCat really endorse contraception?
. A new Vatican-sponsored catechism intended for youth suggests that Christian couples “can and should” use “contraceptive methods” when deciding on how many children to have.
The revelation comes two days before the eve of the official launch of the so-called “YouCat,” produced specially for the Church’s World Youth Day event, to be held in Madrid this coming August.
The Vatican’s spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi, SJ, told EWTN News April 11, “I have not yet seen the text of YouCat and am therefore unable to comment further.” - EWTN . .
This better be a mistake. (I'm told the Ignatius translation avoids this mistake.)
H/T Diane at Te Deum Luademus
Tour guides flashing their credentials. . "As a writer with a degree in journalism and experience in newspapers, national magazines, and secular non-fiction, I'm astonished at how many put themselves forward as keen commentators and experts on Medjugorje without having ever visited there." - Michael Brown
People love to flash their credentials in their efforts to make a point. I'm astonished at how some people believe a degree in journalism and visiting Medjugorje qualifies one to promote spurious apparitions and revelations not approved by the Church.
The Bishops of Mostar, who have the authority to teach regarding such things asked people to stay away. As Bishop Andrea Gemma explained in 2008:
. "The Holy Church, which alone can make a pronouncement, through the words of the Bishop of Mostar, has already said publicly and officially that the Madonna never appeared in Medjugorje and that this whole production is the work of the Devil."
When Bishop Gemma, an exorcist, was told that proponents of Medjugorje claim the Holy See never forbade pilgrimages, The Bishop replied:
. "That's another lie! As I pointed out before, the Vatican has forbidden pilgrimages by priests to the place and has spoken through the words of the two successive bishops of Mostar, Monsignors Zanic and Peric, with whom I have spoken personally, and who have always manifested their doubts to me. You see, even for Fatima and Lourdes, the Holy See didn't express any position directly on those Marian apparitions. So why would they have to make an exception in this case? The truth is that when the Bishop of Mostar speaks, the Church of Christ speaks, and is it to him, who speaks with the authority conferred to him by the Vatican, that we need to listen. Thus, the Holy See has already expressed itself with the words of the Bishop of Mostar, making evident that Medjugorje is a diabolical trick. But I will share a secret with you. You'll see that soon the Vatican will intervene with something explosive, to unmask once and for all who is behind this swindle." - Source
So who are the private interests claiming to know better and insist that the events at Medjugorje are authentic? Does a degree in journalism usurp a theology degree? Does a pious visit to a foreign shrine accompanied by vivid personal spiritual experience, resulting in private opinion, usurp the authority of the bishops or the CDF? Absolutely not.
. Even Rene Laurentin, the famed Mariologist has distanced himself from Medjugorje:
. "I am only an expert and I have no magisterium. And I never allow myself to give an opinion on the apparitions which I study. I only examine the facts, the reasons in favor and those against. I discern them, I explain them as clearly as possible, but I don't give any judgment. If I had done that, I would have made greater difficulties for myself, which are already great enough, from the moment I involve myself so assiduously in this controversial phenomenon." [...] "I say it again: I have never expressed judgments on the authenticity, at least of the apparitions; my studies are merely a small contribution to the Church and to the faithful..." - Fr. Laurentin
So why do promoters of Medjugorje insist one has to go to the place in order to believe, or at least make an informed judgement? It makes me think of the Gospel passage where Jesus warns not to go here or there looking for him, even when people tell you, he is in that place or this place. I also recall John of the Cross, who preferred to remain on the beach in prayerful solitude while his novices went to see a stigmatic. I think it is better to pray the rosary and visit Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and obey the bishops instead of going on trips.
H/T Sancte Pater for link to the Gemma interview.
Photo: Miraculous Teddy Bear
The tradition of blaming the victim.
The old men were highly regarded Jewish elders, judges in Babylon, who lusted after Susanna, the wife of Joakim. They attempted to seduce her, and when she refused, they made a case against her, accusing her of having an affair with a younger man. The young prophet Daniel defended Susanna, revealing the lies the men had forged against her because she refused their advances.
Likewise, in the Gospel, the scribes and Pharisees brought before Jesus the woman caught in adultery, calling for her to be stoned to death, in accord with the Law.
Such injustice is perpetrated against women even in our own day. The public is now very much aware that women caught in adultery can be stoned to death, and in cases of rape, severely punished in Islamic countries. In Pakistan and India women who have been raped can be flogged or can face a worse punishment, such as honor killing. Likewise in the West, it is not uncommon to hear claims that women ask to be raped because of how they dress, or how they behave. Frequently women who report sexual assault, harassment, or abuse are accused of lying with the hope of enriching themselves, either through a lawsuit or a legal settlement.
Art: Susanna - Artemisia Gentileschi